Enslaving the workforce
Emily Blair, Editor-In-Chief
March 1, 2012
Filed under Opinion
Treacherous and muddy walkways, cutting fluid detrimental to the lungs, glue and other hazardous chemicals are day-to-day dangers of the average Foxconn factory workers day.
Foxconn is a Taiwanese factory that outsources Apple products for US companies. Foxconn workers are paid about $146/month, although they are enticed to work at the factory with promises of between $246 and $307 per month. Employees have the opportunity to work overtime so that they can increase their pay. However, it often becomes a huge hassle for the employee to attain their overtime pay. Many workers have reported that their paychecks consistently miss some of their shifts. Getting paid is a challenging process for these overworked individuals. According to the John Stewart Show, Apple products would only increase by 23% if factory workers were given reasonable conditions to work in.
The average workday begins at 6:40 a.m. and ends at 8:00 p.m. An average week consists of more than 60 hours of difficult manual labor.
Last year, approximately 300 exhausted workers retaliated against these conditions and formed a strike. The workers threatened to commit suicide in return for reasonable pay increases and better working conditions. The mayor convinced the workers against suicide by promising pay raises. Afterwards, his promise was rescinded. The employees were informed of their two choices. They could either continue working with their current pay or they could quit and be paid a severance. Most individuals that quit did receive their severance – yet another broken Foxconn promise.
Foxconn’s Apple products are all wildly popular in the United States. Therefore, American consumers are unknowingly supporting a vile, criminal industry by simply purchasing their favorite electronic devices.
Even if the majority of Americans became educated about Foxconn’s despicable practices, they have no method of retaliation. It is impractical to ask American consumers to completely boycott products that are so thoroughly integrated into our society. In addition to this, there are no acceptable alternate replacements for these products. Therefore, Americans have no option but to purchase their irreplaceable products and consequently support Foxconn’s abhorrent practices and inhumane working conditions.
While the average American can do nothing but support companies such as Foxconn with their purchases, corporate America has the power to make a difference. If they were to stop outsourcing and bring their factories to the United States, then the workers would surely be treated fairly.